Business & Finance

Philip Morris Cos. said it will appeal a record $28 billion

damage award voted Friday by a Los Angeles jury to a woman diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. The award is the largest for an individual in US history. The previous record – $3 billion by another Los Angeles jury, also in a smoking-related case – later was reduced to $100 million. Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco company, also owns Nabisco and a majority stake in Kraft Foods.

Federal regulators are poised to reject EchoStar Communications Corp.'s proposed $15 billion purchase of Hughes Electronics Corp. and its DirecTV subsidiary, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Federal Communications Commission has yet to hold a formal vote on the matter, the paper said, but a majority of commissioners have concluded that a linkup of the nation's largest and second-largest satellite television providers is not in the public interest. The Justice Department also opposes the deal.

By a 3-to-2 vote, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Carnival Corp. won the Federal Trade Commission's OK Friday to resume their separate efforts to buy rival P&O Princess Cruises, the industry's third-largest fleet. The decision removes the last regulatory hurdle to an eventual deal. In June, the European Union gave its go-ahead to Carnival's $5.5 billion bid and Royal Caribbean's $3.7 billion offer. P&O Princess was set to merge with Royal Caribbean last November when Carnival made its initial bid. A senior P&O Princess executive said his company still favors Royal Caribbean but now would negotiate in good faith with Carnival.

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